NBA Lockout Could Keep Basketball’s Biggest Stars From Olympic Games

The NBA lockout seems to be inching closer to becoming a season-ending lockout, with games now canceled through Dec. 15.

It’s possible that players, who recently missed their first of 12 paychecks, will change their minds and agree to settle for what the owners have offered — an offer that at this point will only get worse with time.

With no season, it would seem more players would want to play on international teams, but the looming lockout is likely to mean less stars at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

On a general standpoint, the main problem lies in player insurance. The NBA normally foots the bill for the insurance when players go play with their respective national teams. However, with the lockout, international teams will be forced to pay the bill themselves.

This becomes a problem across the board. Smaller federations trying to defend their few NBA stars, like Luol Deng in Great Britain, do not have the money to pay up the large insurances and may instead rely on players from local leagues.

For countries like the United States, their star power for once hurts them. The insurance bill for a LeBron James and Dwyane Wade is not the same as Carlos Arroyo, who has been playing with Puerto Rico during the lockout.

The U.S., although full of resources, would likely be forced to field a team with secondary stars that would bring with them smaller insurance values.

Team USA will face further complications considering how closely linked team USA is to the NBA. Players may not want to join the marketing campaign that is the Dream Team for the NBA.

Furthermore, even if the stars are present, the quality of the play may be hindered by facing players that are no longer in game shape or, if there is a season, are still fatigued from a season that may end later due to the lockout problems.

Regardless, what may have been one of the most marketable tournaments in London 2012 is becoming more fuddled and those that have already forked over money for the sought-after tickets may find themselves before a much diminished product come July 2012.

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